Candid Wedding Photos at Suraya

March 3, 2023

Suraya is a stunning restaurant wedding venue in Philadelphia. The Mediterranean decor, sunny courtyard, and incredible food make it an unforgettable place to get married. Jane and Owen’s Suraya wedding focused on creating great memories with loved ones over a beautiful meal.

A floral wedding arbor and chairs sit in the courtyard of Suraya.

A Wedding at Suraya

Suraya isn’t your typical wedding venue. In fact, Jane and Owen’s was just one of two weddings photographed at Suraya that year. This restaurant specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. The decor is really unique. Sunlight illuminates the narrow dining room decorated with dark blue paint and gold accents. The red and white tiled floor add warmth to the cozy space. It feels intimate and inviting for a small wedding. 

A server sets up a table for a wedding reception in a Philadelphia restaurant wedding venue.
Bright flowers sit at the center of a wedding reception table in a patch of sun.
Sun shines through the water glasses on a table set for a wedding reception.
A large floral arrangement sits on the hearth in the Suraya dining room for a wedding.
Cocktails sit on a tray in a courtyard.

If you have your wedding at Suraya, you get the added benefit of using their beautiful courtyard. Jane and Owen held their ceremony under a decorated arbor in front of a flower mural. The variegated blue tiles make you feel like you’re at the seaside instead of the middle of the city. 

A bride walks into the Suraya courtyard on a sunny afternoon.
A groom carries a bridal bouquet as he walks through a Philadelphia courtyard with a bride.
A bride and groom sit for wedding portraits in a courtyard wedding venue.
A bride and groom sit in the dining room at Suraya before their wedding.

One of the best things about a restaurant wedding is that the “design” is already determined for you. Usually, it’s modern and gorgeous. The meticulously decorated dining room and whimsical courtyard will make your guests feel like they’ve been transported from Fishtown to a Mediterranean town. A few flowers go a long way in completing the warm, elegant decor.

Jane sits in Owen's lap in a corner of a restaurant.
A bride and groom stand in the doorway of a Philadelphia wedding venue casting shadows on the tile floor.
A couple in wedding attire walks down a Philadelphia sidewalk.
Jane and Owen pose with their family members for a group portrait in the courtyard.

Suraya is a beautiful space, but the food is the real highlight of a wedding here. The menu is one of the best in town. Jane and Owen wanted to have abundant food for their guests, and the restaurant worked with them to create a custom menu. Jane learned Arabic in Syria. Suraya worked with her to create a menu reflecting her attachment to that region. 

Jane puts her arm around a young boy's shoulder in a group photo.
Two elderly women lean forward smiling at a baby.
A view through a wall of windows shows wedding guests talking in Suraya's courtyard before a wedding ceremony.
A bride and groom enter the Suraya courtyard where their guests are seated for the wedding ceremony.

Candid Wedding Photos on Film and Digital

When Jane and Owen first inquired with me, they described themselves as “extremely low-key.” They wanted a photographer to “capture our joy in the most authentic way.” They weren’t really interested in posed portraits. Instead, they wanted me to “capture joy and spontaneity and fun” so they would have photos that reminded them how their wedding felt, not just what it looked like. 

A bride wipes away a tear during an outdoor wedding ceremony.
A bride reads her vows from a piece of paper.
Guests laugh as a groom reads his vows at the Philadelphia wedding.
Wedding guests hold hands during the ceremony.
A guest records the wedding ceremony on her cell phone.

This described my approach to weddings perfectly. I focused on candid wedding photos of the in-between moments – guests holding hands and wiping away tears during the ceremony, Jane and Owen enjoying the meal designed just for them and stealing away for a kiss in the courtyard. These moments show the love at the heart of the celebration better than any posed portrait could. 

Wedding guests watch the Suraya wedding ceremony in the courtyard.
Owen steps on a glass wrapped in a black napkin.
Suraya servers prepare plates of food under a warming lamp.
A bride reaches for a plate of dip in the middle of a reception table.
Plates of Mediterranean food sit clustered on a dimly lit table.

I photographed Jane and Owen’s wedding on a combination of film and digital. Both create amazing candid images, but the film does an especially good job of portraying the warmth and spontaneity of their Suraya wedding. Film gives photos a sense of nostalgia even when the setting is modern and chic. 

Wedding guests gather around a long table to eat dinner.
Family members talk over dinner.
A bride and groom cut into their wedding cake in the Suraya dining room.
A slice of wedding cake sits on a table beside a cake decorated with flowers.
Wedding guests lift Owen in a chair for the horah.

Nostalgic Super 8 for Jane and Owen

Jane and Owen described their vision for their Suraya wedding like this: “We hope that it is a special, hitch-free day that feels warm, celebratory, and joyful. We are most excited to make this commitment to each other in front of so many people we love and then to eat, drink, and get merry with all of them.” They wanted their “We hope that our “families and friends come together seamlessly, or at the very least use the time to enjoy being with people they already love and miss seeing. We both miss the family events of our youth and hope to recapture some of that magic of having people all together again, especially after COVID.”

Wedding guests gather in a circle to watch the Horah.
Lights blur behind a floral arrangement at a wedding reception.
A wedding guest in a blue suit sits on a bench to eat a slice of cake.
A bride and groom kiss in the Suraya courtyard during their wedding reception.
Wedding guests sit on a bench talking over cocktails.

They were so excited at having everyone in one place to celebrate that they decided to add Super 8 film to their photography coverage. Super 8 is an incredible medium for bringing the nostalgia Jane and Owen feel about their childhoods to their wedding coverage. The film gives an even stronger sense of what it really felt like to be present with Jane and Owen at their wedding. Their first look is especially moving. You can see the way they touch and interact without any of the overly technical production that you often get with wedding videography. 

Would you like me to photograph your wedding? I’m a Philadelphia wedding photographer specializing in film and Super 8. Inquire with me here!

Thank you to the vendors who helped make Jane and Owen’s day so memorable:
Photographer and Super 8 Videographer: Jason Moody Photography
Assistant Photographer: Devon Dadoly
Planner: SLC Event Company
Venue and Caterer: Suraya
Florals: Walter Pine Floral Studio
Cake: HB Cuppy Cakes
DJ: Philly Custom DJ
Hair and Makeup: Cheekadee
Dress: Justin Alexander
Suit: Oscar Jacobson
Jewelry: Rendrag Jewelry